Like many social networks, Instagram, a site exclusively built upon photo sharing, was created to benefit individual users. However, recently brands have begun to see results from setting up company accounts and using them to reach their target markets. Have you given the network a test? If not, now is the time to try. Consider the ideas below for how to use Instagram to benefit your business.
Understand the Network
Like any social network, Instagram requires a basic knowledge of its functions to see any measurable success. Sign up for a free account under your business’s name, think about your target market and take the time to look around.
One of the best ways to understand how your target market is using Instagram is to follow them. Upon the creation of your new account, Instagram will display a list of your Facebook friends, along with options to follow them. Do this and run a search for specific keywords that are relevant to your business. You’ll quickly learn what seems to get the most attention, and what doesn’t. You’ll also learn more about the interests and usage habits of your target market. Learning the system is essential for success.
Consider Your Goals
What are your goals for your business’ Instagram account? Do you want to increase website traffic, to interact with potential customers, or share success stories? The primary goal is different for every Instagram user or business. However, like any marketing strategy, understanding what your objective may be is paramount to using the network to its fullest potential.
Instagram is a photo sharing site. Because of this, sharing photos is a necessary technique for creating a branded presence. Think about the photos that your target audience members are likely to respond to and go from there.
Are you a business that thrives on motivating others? 12 Keys Best Rehab, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is just that, a brand that needs to motivate to see results. Because of this, they created an Instagram presence that is filled with motivational quotes, relaxing scenes and thought provoking statistics.
Do you have a specific, niche market in mind and feel as though that limits your sharing potential? It doesn’t have to. Audi, a luxury car brand, uses an Instagram account to highlight new models, to create a sense of luxury and indulgence and to put their followers in the driver’s seat.
The photo posts that you share should be easily relatable and should tie back to your brand in one way or another.
Think Quality, Quality, Quality
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to make a big impact on Instagram. That’s part of the beauty of the network. However, low quality photography never sends a good message and should therefore be avoided at all costs.
Use natural light when taking photos or videos. Use filters to bring attention where you’d like it to go. Become familiar with Instagram’s editing options and use them to create professional-looking posts. With filters, cropping options and even a tool that allows users to shave time off the beginning or end of a video post, the network offers all an aspiring photojournalist or marketer needs to be successful while keeping attention where it should be - on the brand in question.
Keep the Network in Mind on the Go
Instagram is versatile and designed to be used on the go. In fact, the mobile app offers more features and user options than the computer version. This is a rare find, which makes it optimal for mobile marketing.
When out and about, remember that your smartphone can now serve as a traffic-driving mega tool, thanks to Instagram. Snap photos. Take multiple ones to be sure one will work, and record videos that will speak to your target market. Remember, any opportunity can be used to attract brand attention and engagement, especially mobile opportunities.
Build a Following, Organically
What’s the point of putting the time into creating captivating, compelling photography when there’s no audience? There isn’t one. Just like any other social network, building a following on Instagram takes time, but is worth it in the end. Unlike other networks that allow for advertising, Instagram has not opened their advertising program to the public market yet. This means building a following requires determination and follow-through.
Advertise to your existing email list that you’ve created account and ask them to follow you. Do hashtag searches for keywords that are relevant to your industry. Follow others. Most importantly, interact. Take the time to like photos of the individuals that you follow and to comment. This draws attention and makes a reciprocal follow more likely. Keep at it, each new follow is more attention for your business online.
Don’t Fix It and Forget It
Like any successful targeted online marketing tactic or network, Instagram is not a one-time thing. Setting up an account and abandoning it will not bring results. Neither will “posting and running.”
Finding success on Instagram requires effort. Set aside time each day to devote to growing your presence on Instagram and any other social network on which you wish to actively engage your target audience. Look for new ways to branch out and take the time to interact regularly.
Instagram is an excellent network for businesses to foster a richer, deeper online presence. It’s ease of use and mobile-options make it the perfect go-to for any business looking to get ahead. However, it takes work. If you’re ready to see how Instagram could benefit your brand, set up an account and get started today.